WI vs IND – 2nd T20I – Rohit hands Avesh over to the final

After 39 overs of the second T20I at St Kitts, the West Indies needed 10 runs off six balls to take a series-leveling win, with five wickets in hand. Bhuvneshwar Kumar, India’s most experienced fast bowler, had bowled just two overs and conceded just 12 runs. He may have seemed like the natural choice to throw the final over, but Indian captain Rohit Sharma chose to throw the ball to Avesh Khan, who was only playing his 10th T20I. Avesh had taken an important wicket, York top scorer Brandon King over in the 16th, but had scored 19 runs in his first two overs.
On the day itself, the move failed to take off, with Avesh overshooting the first ball and conceding a free hit that Devon Thomas said for a six over extra cover. Thomas put the finishing touches on a four after ball, but Rohit wasn’t too alarmed by the result and believed Avesh would learn from the experience.
“It’s about giving these guys a chance,” Rohit said after India’s defeat. “We know what Bhuvneshwar Kumar brings to the table for us. He’s been doing it for so many years, but if you don’t give guys like Avesh, Arshdeep a chance [Singh] and all those guys, you’ll never find out what it’s like to bowl in the death overs for India. They’ve done well for the IPL franchises, but this is a different game. These are the games [where] you try to see how they react to that [pressure] situations, but yes, it is only one game.

“I don’t think we should… or those guys should be panicking about things. They’ve got the skills, they’ve got the talent; it’s about supporting it and giving them the right opportunity.”

Arshdeep, the seam on the left arm, took center stage in India, dragging the match over to the latter. He had also conceded a limit via a freestyle, to Kyle Mayers, in the power play, but was excellent at death with his variations in pace, length and angles. He gave up just ten runs in the 17th and 19th overs, with Hardik Pandya and the spinners also playing their part. Rohit was particularly impressed with India’s late rally with the ball.

“That’s something I’m really proud of the team [for]’, he said. “When you defend a goal like that, it can be over in 13-14 overs or you can drag it to the last ball. I think we did that today. We dragged it over to the last. The boys kept fighting and it was important for us to keep taking wickets at the same time. So you have to plan and see how you’re going to take those wickets and I thought the planning that we did – whatever we talked about – the guys came and executed it.”

Rohit backs batters to keep ‘same intensity and intention’

In the first T20I on a two-speed Tarouba surface, India achieved 190 for 6 despite the steady decline in wickets. In the second game, on a similarly challenging surface in Basseterre, India stayed true to their offensive batting approach, but this time it failed as they were knocked out for 138 with two unused balls in their innings. Rohit insisted Monday’s failed battle was no cause for concern and India would not deviate from their gung-ho approach.

“Really, really happy with how the bowlers have bowled, but of course there are certain things in our batting that we really need to look at,” said Rohit. “But again, I say that too: we will continue firing that way because we want to achieve something. Unless you try and do it, you will not achieve it.

“So, I think, a strange result here and there, we shouldn’t panic. It’s about giving those guys that clarity, and after one loss, we’re not trying to change anything. We’ll keep going [up] same intensity and same intent with the bat.”

India lost three wickets in the power play after being sent off in bat, but they still hit 56 runs at this stage. Shortly afterwards, Rishabh Pant shot out of the fold against left arm finger spinner Akeal Hosein, but was caught in the deep midwicket. Hardik Pandya, then sent the ball into the air regularly and also holed if he dared to hit the wind and cleared the larger leg-side boundary. Ravindra Jadeja and Dinesh Karthik also selected the outfield players as they pushed the boundaries. Rohit admitted that India’s was totally below par and hoped that the batters would do better in the next game, which will also be played at the same location and possibly the same field on Tuesday.

“First, there weren’t enough runs on the board for us,” he said. “We didn’t hit well and I thought the field was playing pretty well, but we didn’t apply ourselves. But that can happen. I’ve mentioned it over and over that when you’re trying to achieve something or when you’re trying to do something as a batting group you will not always succeed. [in] games like this could make you understand what you could have done. So we will try to learn from the mistakes we made today and see if we can correct those mistakes in the next game.”

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